Ode to Healing – Part One

John Updike


A scab
is a beautiful thing — a coin
the body has minted, with an invisible motto:
In God We Trust.
Our body loves us,
and, even while the spirit drifts dreaming,
works at mending the damage that we do.
That heedless Ahab the conscientious mind
drives our thin-skinned hull onto the shoals;
a million brilliant microscopic engineers below
shore up the wound with platelets,
lay down the hardening threads of fibrin,
send in the lymphocytes, and supervise
those cheery swabs, the macrophages, in their clean-up.
Break a bone, and fibroblasts
knit together the blastema in days.
Catch a cold, and the fervid armies
swarm to blanket our discomfort in sleep.
For all these centuries of fairy tails poor men
butchered each other in the name of cure,
not knowing an iota of what the mute brute of body knew.

— Continued —

For further reading:
Updike The Jew



Medical Status Report:

Its the harness that’s hurting the dog !!

With little commentary, here goes…   …   …

atrial fibrillation; stroke multiple, (2000, 2002, right hemiplegia); bipolar depression; sick sinus syndrome (pacemaker replacement); gout; fall from a motorized wheelchair;  sleep apnea; squamous cell carcinoma, calf pain (recurrent MRSA antibiotic treatment resistance infection, w/scarring, edema, hospitalization); rib pain (under investigation; abdominal pain (rule out gallbladder, pancreas, refer to gastroenterology); chest pain (under investigation); vascular insufficiency; repetitive wrist injury Vicodin/APAP 4 to 6 hrs) w/referral to rheumetology); referral to home health nursing; bi-weekly Coumadin evaluations.


Not to mention the general malaise that’s been plaguing me all this fall and winter.  There’s a newspaper cartoon strip I’ve seen in the Los Angeles area (and in other areas I’m sure) in which a minimalistic dog’s clenched jaws are mouthing the slogan of the day.  Some days the caption is a newsworthy commentary or opinion.  Some days a philosophical tidbit.  What ever it is, the dog’s reaction is always the same, the caption is always the same, the dog’s expression, the same:  Grrrr!!

I am that dog.  Always clenching.  Always grimacing.  Always pained.  ALWAYS!!  Always

And I’m tired.  If I don’t stop grimacing, if I don’t stop fighting; I’ll die.  I’ll die anyway.  Any way the end is the same.  I’m tired of fighting.  I’m scared of NOT fighting.  I’ve been fighting for months…   …   …the months I’ve not been writing for.  That’s why I’ve not been writing.

My hands hurt.  My HAND hurts.  The ONE I have to use!!  The one I HAVE.  That one hurts.  From OVERUSE!!  Seven points on the ten point pain scale says its time to stop.  For today.  Because my hand hurts.

Grrr!!  Grrr!!  Grrr!!




A Comic’s ‘Whoa’s

I was going to call this post “My ‘Achilles Heel’ IS My Heel“.  I keep looking for the punch line in a life that is, for all of us, bitter/sweet.  But sometimes there’s real pathos.
I stop myself in mid-gallows-laughter.  Because I like the ‘Taxi Dog’ life I’ve created for myself.  Where everything can be overcome…   …   …some day, some day.  Deep in my heart, I do believe.
Some day.  But not this day. This day, I’m in real pain.  Physical and emotional.  First the physical.
During one of my many operations, I developed a bed-sore, a decubitus ulcer, on my heel, that pains me from time to time.  This is that time!!
Watch me as I rationalize.  It was really painful.  I was being treated at the UCLA Pain Management Center where they know the difference between ‘real’ and ‘imagined’ pain.  I was given Fentanyl [“…a potent synthetic opioid that is primarily used as an analgesic.”] and Oxycontin.  I weaned myself off them.  I Hate Being Dependent!!  And FUCK YOU!!!!, if you try to change my mind.
But this hurts.
I can get this taken care by Medicare‘s itinerant podiatrist in two weeks.  Cool.  Two weeks.
I question myself constantly.  One constant question is this:  Am I being brave?  Or just carrying a “brave cloak”, like Obi-Won Keno-be, with which he clouds men’s minds.  Am I an old desert hermit, or a Jedi Knight? A grouchy old man, or a hero?  A Taxi Dog, happy-go-lucky, happy-to-be- alive aphasic diarist, or a charlatan?
Tonight, I’m just an old, tired shepherd, looking for a place to sleep out of the rain.
And emotional…
My wife’s depression weighs on me.  Funny to tell you this now, when its finally lessening…   …   …slightly.  We grew up together from our teens.  Now, in our late 60’s, I’m feeling more and more free…   …   to express myself, learn, meet people, dance with life.  She also has worked, hard, at being a wife and mother,  mediator, adviser, friend to all, even her enemies.  Now, when she could be free, she binds herself with obligations and responsibilities.  So determined is she in her social role, she refuses to unencumber herself…   …   …a yells at me for encouraging her exploration.
This too will pass.  But for now…   …   …for now?  How many tomorrows are missed in fear of our todays.
And my dear and bestest friend, Fish, at heaven’s door with his new-found lady friend from Switzerland [of all places], is over-analyzing all the “good” in his life…   …   …and souring his opportunity to be loved.  Like him, and my wife, and probably myself, although its always difficult to see one’s “self”; we’re all trying to be the warrior in our lives.  [Maybe , in my wife’s case, its Princess Leah.]
Its Monday, May 14, 2012, 12:16 AM, in my life, and that’s whats in my mind.